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Zelenskyy: Maximum Sanctions on Russia 05/23 06:05

   Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for "maximum" sanctions 
against Russia during a virtual speech Monday to corporate executives, 
government officials and other elites on the first day of the World Economic 
Economic gathering in Davos.

   DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called 
for "maximum" sanctions against Russia during a virtual speech Monday to 
corporate executives, government officials and other elites on the first day of 
the World Economic Economic gathering in Davos.

   He said sanctions need to go further to stop Russia's aggression, including 
an oil embargo, blocking all of its banks and cutting off trade with Russia 
completely. He said that it's a precedent that would work for decades to come.

   "This is what sanctions should be: They should be maximum, so that Russia 
and every other potential aggressor that wants to wage a brutal war against its 
neighbor would clearly know the immediate consequences of their actions," 
Zelenskyy said through a translator.

   He also pushed for the complete withdrawal of foreign companies from Russia 
to prevent supporting its war and said Ukraine needs at least $5 billion in 
funding per month.

   "The amount of work is enormous: we have more than half a trillion of 
dollars in losses, tens of thousands of facilities were destroyed. We need to 
rebuild entire cities and industries," Zelenskyy said, coming days after the 
Group of Seven leading economies agreed to provide $19.8 billion in economic 
aid.

   He said that if Ukraine had "received 100% of our needs at once, back in 
February" in terms of weapons, funding, political support and sanctions against 
Russia, "the result would be tens of thousands of lives saved."

   Zelenskyy's speech is a key focus Monday at Davos, the village in the Swiss 
Alps that has been transformed into a glitzy venue for the four-day confab 
ostensibly dedicated to making the world a better place. The event is resuming 
in person after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which also 
delayed this year's meeting from its usual winter slot.

   For the attendees, there's much to tackle amid soaring food and fuel prices, 
Russia's war in Ukraine, climate change, inequality and persistent health 
crises. But it's hard to predict if the high-minded discussions will yield 
substantial announcements that make headway on the world's most pressing 
challenges.

   "This war is really a turning point of history, and it will reshape our 
political and our economic landscape in the coming years," said the event's 
founder, Klaus Schwab.

   Zelenskyy, who received a standing ovation after this remarks, reiterated 
that Russia was blocking critical food supplies, such as wheat and sunflower 
oil, from leaving its ports.

   Ukraine, along with Russia, is a major exporter of wheat, barley and 
sunflower oil, and the interruption of those supplies is threatening food 
insecurity in countries in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia that rely 
on those affordable supplies.

   The head of the U.N.'s World Food Program called for Ukraine's ports to 
reopen, saying the region's farmers "grow enough food to feed 400 million 
people."

   If such supplies remain off the market, the world could face a food 
availability problem in the next 10 to 12 months, and "that is going to be hell 
on earth," WFP Executive Director David Beasley told The Associated Press.

   He warned that there are "49 million (people) knocking on famine's door 
right now in 43 countries," including Yemen, Lebanon, Mali, Burkina Faso, 
Egypt, Congo, Guatemala and El Salvador.

   Beasley called on the world's top mega-billionaires to aid efforts to 
prevent hunger: "The world is in real serious trouble. This is not rhetoric and 
B.S. Step up now, because the world needs you."

   Besides Zelenskyy's speech, a sizable Ukrainian government delegation is 
attending in person, making their case for more Western support in the 
country's fight against Russia.

   Russian officials have not been invited to Davos this year, with what was 
dubbed the "Russia House" having been transformed by critics -- including 
Ukrainian tycoon Victor Pinchuk and the country's Foreign Ministry -- into what 
they call the "Russia War Crimes House."

   The venue features photos of crimes and cruelties that Russian forces are 
accused of perpetuating.

   While Ukraine will capture attention on the meeting's first day, climate and 
environmental issues will be a constant theme until Thursday's finale, with 
panels on extreme weather, efforts to reach "net zero" emissions and finding 
cleaner sources of energy.

 
 
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